Astronomy news

A funny looking crater on Mars

At .... Orcus Patera is a mysterious elliptical depression near the equator of Mars, some 380km by 140km in a NNE - SSW direction. It has a rim that rises up 1800m above the surrounding plain while the floor of the depression is some 400 to 600m below the surrounding landscape. It doesn't fit into any currently accepted pattern - impact or volcanic

Radio emissions from sun spots

At ... professor Jeongwoo Lee (see also seeks to explain why sun spots are a source of radio emissions because hot electrons gyrate in the coronal magnetic field. As they gyrate they produce an efficient radiation called gyro-resonant emission. This serves as an indicator of the magnetic field and of temperature in the coronae above sun spots.

A Sun Spot

At the website of Ciel et l'Espace, a French astronomy magazine, has published a picture of a sun spote (below)

It is the most detailed ever taken in visible light - and the website intends to publish further images. They have an origin in the US, at the Big Bear Solar Observatory, a unique location on a lake (see )

Jupiter smacked again

At August 23rd ... we have a story that is repeated at many other internet sources but I like this one as it includes further information. Jupiter was hit again by an object, caaptured on film this time by an amateur Japanese astronomer. When he made the claim, with a an image to back it up, the Hubble space camera swang around and various terrestrial space telescopes (and no doubt amateur back window ones too) homed in on Jupiter and confirmed that an impact had probably occurred (the aftermath).

The moon may have shrunk

At it is alleged the moon has shrunk - over the last I billion years. The evidence is lobate scarps and the hypothesisi s that scarps formed due to shrinkage as the moon cooled causing the crust to wrinkle.

Venus ... in the eye of a Japanese spacecraft

There are two stories on Venus today and both are well worth keeping an eye out for updates.

NGC 4696

At we have, 'NGC 4696: A Cosmic Question Mark'. It's all about a strange galaxy that curls around at one end like a great question mark in outer space, on the edge of the field of vision of the Hubble Advanced Camera. It is the biggest galaxy in the Centaurian cluster and is at the moment a bit of a mystery.

Giant loops of ultraviolet light in deep space

At August 11th ... astronomers have found giant loops of ultraviolet light in old galaxies which seem to have a second lease of life. The discovery implies that such galaxies, that appear to be dead, or are assumed to be dead by astronomers, are not so.

A Solar Tsunami (?)

At ... it seems the journalist is describing a solar flare, and presumably his analogy with a tsunami wave comes from the rapid advance of plasma from the Sun towards the earth as a result of the flare.

The Spacecraft Fly-by Mystery

'The Spacecraft fly-by mystery - is dark matter the culprit or is there new physics waiting to be discovered?' is another headline grabber from Casey Kazan at on August 3rd. When NASA sends its spacecraft across the solar system they save fuel by making use of sling-shot fly-bys. Rather than firing up thrusters the spacecraft changes trajectory by harnessing the gravitational pulls of the planets. However, this clever trick has had an unexpected side-effect.